Harry Caray: Voice of the Fans

By Pat Hughes, with Bruce Miles

Book review by Keith Glab, BaseballEvolution.com
December 22, 2007

Pat Hughes guides us through Harry's career

If you are looking for a detailed insider's view of what Harry Caray's broadcasting days were like with the Cubs, pick up Where's Harry by Caray's longtime broadcast partner, Steve Stone. 

Harry Caray: Voice of the Fans provides more of a general overview of the Hall of Famer's broadcast career.  Given the fact that Hughes has been the radio voice of the Chicago Cubs for more than a decade and broadcast alongside Harry for parts of two seasons, one might expect a more biased, personal account of Harry's life and career.  As much as Hughes obviously loves Harry, however, he loves the art of broadcasting.  Hughes spends nearly as much time expounding on Harry's time as a Cardinals broadcaster as he does on his time with the Cubs. 

The book includes a copy of the original Baseball Voices audio CD, a tribute broadcaster Pat Hughes made to Harry in 2006.  If you've already listened to the CD, you probably know what I'm talking about regarding focus.  It's evident that one of Hughes' goals with this tribute is to educate fans who only remember Harry from his time with the Cubs.  Harry would have been a Hall of Fame-caliber broadcaster had his career ended without ever broadcasting for the North Siders and becoming better known for his antics than his actual broadcasting acumen.

The book itself mostly contains extra tidbits about Harry's life that Hughes didn't have room for on the CD.  Some of these nuggets, like the section describing how Harry instructed his son to decline any posthumous Hall of Fame recognition that Harry might have received, are priceless, and you wonder why they weren't included on the audio disc originally.  There are also interesting quotes of praise from Harry on Bob Gibson, Stan Musial, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax, and Jackie Robinson. 

My favorite section in the book describes how Harry would regularly criticize White Sox slugger Bill Melton, among others, leading to Harry's falling out of favor on the South Side.  Pushing Harry away would prove to be the worst financial decision the White Sox would make until they signed Jaime Navarro for $15 million in 1997.  It was a mistake that Cubs player would mirror decades later with Steve Stone, though the charmed Tribune Company suffered no ill pecuniary effects due to that public relations blunder.  Read through this book, and you'll find one or two things that touch you in this manner. 

The photography is also incredible.  Some of the earliest photos included depict a Harry without oversized glasses and oversized jowls, making him difficult to recognize.  Numerous shots of a shirtless Harry guzzling beer during one of his bleacher broadcasts are sure to win over his female fans.  I particularly enjoyed the shot of Harry smooching with Hillary Clinton... now we know that Bill was just jealous.

Harry Caray: Voice of the Fans  tickles your senses and stimulates your mind. Buy this book, stick it on your coffee table, and enjoy.  It has nearly the repeat reading value as the CD has repeat listening value. 

Harry Caray: Voice of the Fans is available at bookstores nationwide or from the publisher, Sourcebooks.

For the original audio CD, which contains artwork not included in the copy issued with the book, either go to BaseballVoices.com or the Baseball Evolution Store.

Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Keith resides in Chicago, Illinois and can be reached at keith@baseballevolution.com.